We have been delivering our Social Prescribing service for almost two years now, accepting referrals for any patients who are registered with GP practices in Reading. Referrals can be made by doctors and practice staff. We have recently expanded the service to accept referrals from the team of Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Physiotherapists at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and from Talking Therapies.
A brief reminder about Social Prescribing:
- We aim to link people up with activities or services in the community that they might benefit from. It’s about connecting people to non-medical sources of support.
- Social Prescribing is of particular benefit for people who are feeling socially isolated / looking for more social contact, wanting to improve physical health, lacking confidence and/or needing to find some practical support and information to improve their situation
- We use the Well-being Star to help identify areas in a person’s life where local activities and sources of support could contribute to improving health and wellbeing.
- Reading Voluntary Action is currently funded through the Berkshire West CCGs’ Partnership Development Fund to deliver this service.
- We employ two part-time Social Prescribers, Amber and Sarah.
- Find out more about Social Prescribing
What referrers are saying about the service
“I’ve only recently started and love the concept of the service so you will probably be getting a good few referrals from me over the next while!” OT, Royal Berkshire Hospital
“I have been an ‘early adopter’ of the social prescribing project as it just seemed to make sense as a GP who takes a holistic approach to health. So much of our perception of our day to day health is driven by and influenced by our mood, our support, our purpose” Reading GP
“I hit on the idea of social prescribing and was surprised she (my patient) agreed. A couple of months later, this lady has gone from ‘glass half empty, to glass brimming over’. Bought herself a dog and has taken up two separate volunteering jobs!” Reading GP
Positive outcomes for patients
Patients have all reported an improvement in their health and wellbeing. Overall there has been an average improvement against all 8 areas of the wellbeing star as shown below.
Linking with community services
In the first six months of 2016-17 we supported patients from a wide age range (40 – 90yrs) and signposted to 39 different services and activities including:
- Physical activities e.g. health walks, Sport in Mind, Age UK Berkshire classes
- Advice and information e.g. Citizens Advice Reading, Winterwatch, Communicare
- Practical support e.g. gardening, Get On-line Reading
- Social activities e.g. Firtree, U3A, volunteering
- Support for long-term condition e.g. Talking Therapies, Reading Your Way, Stroke Support
- Befriending e.g. Age UK Reading.
A great success story:
- for patients, who are seeing improvements to their health and wellbeing
- for referrers, who are able to access additional community support for their patients
- for voluntary and community groups, which are getting new enquiries and referrals.